Judge Dismisses DUI Charge Against University of Arizona Law School Dean

DUI charges against the dean of the University of Arizona Law School were recently dropped.Charges brought against a high-profile academic in Arizona were recently dropped following a court hearing, according to reports.

The current dean of the University of Arizona Law School, Lawrence Ponoroff, was reportedly pulled over by Tucson Police deputies on May 6, 2011. Police reports indicate officers stopped Ponoroff for speeding on North Campbell Avenue in Tucson just before 10 p.m.

The Tucson Sentinel reports police deputies involved in Ponoroff's arrest contended the law school dean exhibited signs of intoxication after he was pulled over. Ponoroff was subjected to blood tests to determine whether he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the alleged incident, but the results of the tests, revealed in August, showed he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.047, a Pima County Sheriff's Department spokesperson said.

The legal limit in Arizona is 0.08, but circumstantial evidence can still result in a DUI conviction in the state in specific instances, according to the news provider.

Ponoroff was charged with driving under the influence as a result of the alleged encounter with Tucson police officials, a charge he vehemently denied and fought in court. Deputy Alvaro Arizpuru was reportedly the Tucson deputy who pulled Ponoroff over after he was traveling 45 miles per hour in a 35 miles per hour zone.

"I followed the vehicle to a distance of approximately three quarters of a mile with the emergency lights on before the vehicle slowed and came to a stop on the shoulder," Arizpuru reportedly stated in his report on the matter.

Ponoroff's lawyer said he did not drive as far a distance as the police officer had claimed. He further alleged there were other mistakes in Arizpuru's police report.

Still, Arizpuru reportedly placed Ponoroff under arrest after a blood alcohol test indicated the presence of alcohol. Ponoroff is said to have declined to voluntarily submit a blood test at the scene, prompting authorities to obtain a warrant to administer one. The blood test was taken, according to reports, but because Ponoroff reportedly refused to submit to one he faced the immediate suspension of his driver's license.

During questioning by Tucson deputies, Ponoroff reportedly admitted to imbibing earlier in the night. A deputy later gave Ponoroff a ride home, after citing him for speeding and driving under the influence, The Sentinel reports.

The arrest was reportedly made the day after Cinco de Mayo, a holiday when the number of vehicle operators driving under the influence of alcohol tends to rise, experts said. Ponoroff's lawyer contended police officers were overzealous in their pursuit of drunk drivers that night, leading to the arrest of his client.

Justice Court Judge Susan Bacal sided with Ponoroff in the suit and dismissed the case with prejudice. Ponoroff was fined $150 for speeding, according to reports.